The Ribbon Eel can easily be recognised by its hugely expanded anterior nostrils.
The species has huge anterior nostrils.
Juveniles and subadults are jet black with a yellow dorsal fin. Females are yellow with a black anal fin and white margins on the fins. Adult males are blue with much of the snout and lower jaw yellow.
It is usually seen in burrows in sandy or rubbly areas adjacent to coral reefs.
The Ribbon Eel occurs throughout the Indo-west Pacific. In Australia it is known from the offshore islands of north-western Western Australia and the Barrier Reef, Queensland.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Feeding and diet
The Ribbon Eel is a predator. Watch a video.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Böhlke, E.B. & J.E. McCosker. 2001. The moray eels of Australia and New Zealand, with the description of two new species (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae). Records of the Australian Museum. 53(1): 71-102.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. in Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.